Giant Trance 29er 2019 – First Look – Flow Mountain Bike

Giant Trance 29er 2019 – First Look – Flow Mountain Bike


Ta dah!
The shrouds have lifted and now we can all get a good look at Giant’s new Trance
29er. Now before we delve into the bike let’s
deal with the elephant in the room and we’re talking about the fact that only a
few years ago Giant said it was 275 Life – 29ers were dead to them and that 27.5
was the way forward. And yet here we are in 2019 with a Trance 29er being
introduced to sit alongside the Anthem 29 that was brought into the lineup last
year. And predictably people out there in internet land went crazy looking to rub
Giant’s face in it and call them hypocrites. But seriously people what
would you do if you were Giant? I tell you what you do – you’d make a bloody 29er
trail bike, because that’s what the market wants. Momentum has swung back towards
29ers in a big, big way and it’s largely been driven by frame technologies. When
giant introduced the Trance 29er back in 2014 for the first time, Boost hub
spacing didn’t even exist and things like single ring drivetrains were the
exception, not the rule. Fast-forward to now and we have a much
better understanding of how to make a good handling 29er.
Much shorter rear ends have been possible thanks to Boost hub spacing and
single ring drivetrains. You can get the head angles nice and slack with reduced
fork offsets. All of those things that weren’t being done five years ago and
that now allow you to make a 29er handle really really well. So what
would you have Giant do? Not make a 29er trail bike purely because they’ve dissed
the concept in the past? Or can we all just get over it and perhaps Giant can
quietly learn a lesson or two about toning down their marketing. So let’s
leave all that aside and take a look at the new bike. Now what is immediately
surprising about the Trance 29er is that it’s a relatively short travel bike at
just 115 millimeters of travel out the back, paired with a 130 millimeter fork.
Now we were certainly expecting that any 29er version of the Trance would at least
match the travel of the 27.5. The 27.5 bike has a 150mm fork with 140mm out back and we
really thought that’s what we’d see with the 29er as well.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and draw any conclusions about the bike
purely because the amount of travel that it has. We’ve ridden plenty of other
bikes recently that ride as if they’ve got far more travel than they actually
do. For instance the Norco Optic 29, the
Intense Sniper XC, or Pivot’s new Trail 429, all ride as if they’ve got far more
travel than they actually have on tap. In any case suspension travel is
definitely secondary to geometry when it comes to making a bike that handles
nicely. And when we look at the Trance 29ers geometry it is really up to speed with
the other 29er trail bikes that are out there. The chain stays are 435mm long, the
head angle is 66.5 degrees with a 44 millimeter offset on
the fork, all in keeping with other trail 29ers of the current generation. What is
really interesting now is when you compare this bike with the previous
version of the Trance 29er from 2015 and it’s amazing to see how far geometry has
evolved in that time. The new Trance 29 is a whopping 56 millimeters longer in
the same size than the previous version, the head angle is three degrees slacker,
and the chain stays six millimeters shorter. So all indications of just how
far 29er geometry has evolved in a fairly short period of time. Anyhow we’re
intrigued – can a 115 millimeter travel 29er hang with the current crop of a
longer travel 29er trail bikes? Or is it going to be left for dead due to its
shorter legs? We’re going to find out pretty soon. We have the Trance 29er 1, the
top-of-the-line alloy version of this bike, coming our way to review very
shortly. So we’ll be able to bring you up to speed and bring you our first ride
impressions very, very shortly.